Marsden's win a blow for Herrity
Timing is everything. And Fairfax County Supervisor Pat S. Herrity seems to have picked the wrong day to announce that he is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly.
Herrity was probably thinking how perfect it would be to crow about Republican Steve Hunt's victory over David Marsden in Tuesday's special election to fill Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's old state Senate seat in western Fairfax County.
He was probably also thinking that he'd be able to talk about his own contributions to the victory and point to the fine Republican margins in the precincts that overlap his own Springfield district, the 37th Senate District and the 11th Congressional District.
Not only did Hunt lose, but he lost the vote in the area of the 37th that overlaps with both Springfield and Connolly's 11th Congressional District -- an area where Herrity would need to perform strongly in a congressional race.
Herrity's timing was curious regardless of Tuesday's outcome. If Hunt had won, wouldn't Herrity have had to share the limelight with him today? And didn't the General Assembly open its 2010 legislative session little more than an hour ago? And doesn't outgoing Gov. Timothy M. Kaine deliver his final state of the commonwealth address tonight? And isn't incoming Governor-elect Robert F. McDonnell food-banking and ballroom-dancing across the state this week in the lead-up to his inauguration on Saturday -- including a stop in Northern Virginia tomorrow?
Herrity's misfortune may be Connolly's gain. The freshman congressman and former chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors lent Marsden a strong hand in the race (Marsden called him his "friend and mentor" at his victory celebration Tuesday), giving Connolly's own operation an organizational boost at an opportune moment.
Connolly also had a hand in helping Marsden craft his message, which boiled down to urging voters not to let Republicans block President Obama's agenda. It was a rallying cry for the Democratic base, and it worked. Marsden even won the absentee ballots (by a two-to-one margin), where Republicans historically have held an advantage, particularly in special elections. Expect to see more of that message -- from Connolly's own re-election campaign -- in the months ahead.
In the meantime, let's not forget about Republican Keith Fimian, who lost to Connolly in 2008 and has been in this race for months. Fimian is wealthy and self-funding, and he's already got the support of House Minority Whip Eric I. Cantor (R) from the Richmond suburbs. In a mass email, Fimian welcomed Herrity to the primary today after Herrity's announcement.
January 13, 2010; 1:20 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Election 2010 , Gerald E. Connolly
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